As is my custom peridically, here's a little snapshot of my current creative endeavors. It helps me stay organized and motivated to see everything in one place, including finished projects, works-in-progress, and future project planning.

Knitting:

Finished:

Works in-progress:

  • My scrappy socks, which have only seen a few rows knit here and there, but should get some more attention once the swoncho is done.
  • My Ninilchik swoncho is well on it's way to being finished. I just finished the body yesterday, after deciding to add an additional 2 inches to the body before starting the ribbing. I'm about 5" into the first sleeve, which is knitting up quickly with a 12" circular needle. So I'm 1.5 sleeves away from the finish line! And if you're not familiar with stranded colorwork, after blocking (soaking in water with wool wash), the sweater should look much less "bunchy." Blocking works wonders.

Future:

  • a shawl or two of some sort. I'm definitely feeling excited to knit one, especially after a lot of garment knitting. Probably in a DK-weight yarn that I already have in my stash. I love the idea of Bandera in an olive-toned cotton/wool blend, and/or Shiver, Red Moon Rising, or A Work of Love in a pink DK yarn
  • a simple DK-weight brioche cowl
  • a baby sweater (plus some other baby knits)
  • at least two hats, in DK or worsted weight. Hats are the perfect "palette-cleanser" project between larger projects

Sewing

Finished:

  • Metamorphic dress—visit that link for all the details and pictures. But it is so satisfying to sew a dress that fits!
  • Toaster 2 sweater—expect a full blog post about this soon, once I get around to taking some pictures. But it was such a neat experience to finally use my serger and over my fear. I'm as proud of the inside of it as I am of the outside, since all the seams are finished with the serger. Plus, it is the coziest sweatshirt ever.
  • a cuddly baby blanket for a friend who is expecting. I'll share some pictures once she's received it.

Works in progress or about-to-be-started:

  • An ebony tee, in the tunic length. My fabric is washed and I've taped the PDF pattern together and traced my size, so all that's left is cutting the fabric and sewing it up! I'd love to have this finished before our upcoming trip.

Future:

  • A second metamorphic dress, in rayon/linen fabric I already have in my stash
  • A second Ebony tee or maybe a Linden sweatershirt in a slightly heavier cotton jersey with tiny pine trees on it.
  • Some more baby sewing that i haven't nailed down yet, but maybe leggings or something similar? I'm excited to use my serger on tiny scale projects like that.

Grace in the creative process

I just wrote a post about having grace on myself and how I've noticed less and less negative self talk in recent years. I mentioned one reason for that in that post. The second reason why my negative self-talk is more infrequent may be surprising: my creative pursuits. Writing and knitting and sewing and work wonders for my self image and my self talk.

Knitting and sewing both constantly put me in a position where I ask myself, "Can I do this? Can I learn this?" as so many makers have asked themselves before. But here's the thing: then we try it and then WE DO IT. Maybe the process is ugly and there are tears involved, but there is incredible reward for doing hard things until you can truly do them.

I notice that I have a lot more grace on myself about the little mistakes that ultimately don't matter, like dropped stitches or seams needing to be ripped out. I can see the larger picture, and that it's okay to start over, or to reknit or rework a part of a project.

Again and again, it's the wonderful positive reinforcement that God made our brains to constantly learn, to want to create beauty, or at least to admire it. We are worshipping creatures, and we cannot escape the eternity-mindedness of our hearts (every single one of us!)—not even in our admiring of a landscape, [or some embroidery or a sewn top that was sewn to fit perfectly]. And I think great freedom comes in embracing these parts of our souls—the ones that long for beauty, the ones more accepting of grace.

P.S.— (added after posted) : After I wrote this post, I sat down to read the next chapter in my current book, Loving My Actual Life: An experiment in relishing what's right in front of me, by Alexandra Kuykendall. The intro to her chapter on creativity (of all things!) says this:

Creativity is woven into the fabric of who we are. God is a "maker," and he made us in his image, to be makers. When I deny that creative part of me, I am going against my very nature [...] I need to cultivate this part of me to truly thrive on a daily basis.

I love that.